Decision to classify hospitals to cut down on oxygen supply in Vadodara revoked

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A day after Officer on Special Duty for Covid-19, Vinod Rao, issued a notification classifying the empaneled private hospitals across the city to cut down on oxygen supply, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) put the notification “on hold”.

The decision comes after elected representatives of the BJP assured that they would intervene and have the state government increase the oxygen quota for Vadodara. Earlier on Monday, Savli BJP MLA Ketan Inamdar wrote a letter to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani seeking immediate withdrawal of the decision.

In his letter, MLA Ketan Inamdar said, “Until now, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) had been ensuring oxygen supply to hospitals in the city and rural Vadodara. But it has now been learned that the hospitals have been divided into categories and oxygen supply to several private hospitals in the city and in rural Vadodara has been discontinued.”

The notification issued on Sunday classified hospitals into three groups for rationing oxygen supply and thus directing 164 private hospitals to stop providing Oxygen treatment to patients with immediate effect.

The notification was “put on hold” late on Monday after Rao, along with elected representatives from the BJP, held a meeting with Group C Hospitals that were prevented from offering oxygen treatment to patients as per the notification.

Rao said, “Group C represented that they would optimise the use of oxygen… The elected representatives informed that extra efforts are being made to receive the required stock of oxygen from state government for hospitals in Vadodara… In view of all this, the implementation of notification for grouping of hospitals to assist in uninterrupted availability of oxygen to hospitals (issued Sunday) has been temporarily put on hold. All hospitals will make efforts to further minimise leakage and wastage of oxygen.”

According to Rao, the state government had capped the oxygen consumption in Vadodara to 160 MT, which was its consumption on Friday.

Seeking supply of oxygen and Remdesivir in rural hospitals, Inamdar added in his letter to Rupani, “A month ago, Vadodara needed only 15 tonnes of oxygen, which has now risen to over 160 metric tonnes. There are several facilities created in Savli and Desar areas for Covid-19 treatment by the administration as well as private charitable institutions but in the absence of oxygen supply, what are these facilities supposed to do? The supply of O2 in villages was always low but to completely discontinue it is not right.”

Inamdar, who had submitted his resignation to the party in 2019 citing bureaucrats not paying heed to development work requests and later withdrew it, added, “As the Chief Minister, you have been sensitive to the needs of the people and so, you must make serious note of this issue. Vadodara city and district are witnessing admissions from neighbouring districts for medical treatment during this pandemic and it is important that your decision must be based on the gravity of the situation in Vadodara.”

Inamdar said that the virus is “slowly spreading” in the rural areas because social events that were completely prohibited last year have been allowed, “causing people to interact and move in groups”. Advocating a lockdown, Inamdar has said, “The danger of transmission of the virus in social events is high and it is important to take a decision to impose lockdown or similar measures to break the chain of this epidemic by restraining people.”

Inamdar also raised the issue of the difficulty being faced in procuring Remdesivir injections and urged government action to stop black-marketing of the drug as well as to prevent hospitals from exerting pressure on relatives to procure the drug for Covid patients.

In Surat, members of the Indian Medial Association on Monday, handed over a memorandum to the District Collector, requesting him to smoothen the supply of oxygen in city hospitals.

In the memorandum, IMA Surat wing president Hiral Shah said, “The daily rise in Covid-19 cases in the city are seeing patients turning up at hospitals in a critical state and in need of oxygen. For the last few days, the private hospitals in the city are facing a shortage of oxygen. There is a daily requirement of 230 metric tonnes of oxygen in hospitals, with around 4,000 patients undergoing treatment…”

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